Afterschool Meals Reduce Childhood Hunger in Kentucky, Promote Healthy Growth and Development
Frankfort, Ky - 20,164 low-income children benefited from afterschool suppers on an average weekday in Kentucky in October 2018. This is a 17 percent increase from the previous year, according to Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation, a new report from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC, a national anti-hunger advocacy group). The report measures how many children participated in the Afterschool Supper Program and Afterschool Snack Program, nationally and by state.
Afterschool suppers are a relatively new option for schools and nonprofits — they first became available nationwide through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. When asked about the increase in meals, Elizabeth Fiehler, CACFP Manager at the Kentucky Department of Education says, “We are excited to see the growth in the program. Our CACFP staff have worked diligently to encourage new sponsors to participate and existing sponsors to expand. We will continue this work in hopes of seeing additional growth in the coming years.”
The growth in afterschool snacks and suppers in Kentucky is significant, with 146,790 snacks and 354,139 suppers served to kids last October. However, more sponsors and sites are needed to increase the number of high-quality, affordable afterschool programs that provide safe environments where children can eat, learn, and play while their parents are at work. Kentucky fed an average of 4.6% of free and reduced-price students last year, just under the national average of 6.2%.
“The nutrition and enrichment activities provided through afterschool programs make the perfect combination for supporting children’s health and learning,” said Kate McDonald, KY Kids Eat Coordinator at Feeding Kentucky. We want to bolster that support by increasing the number of programs that offer afterschool activities and suppers, and make sure they are affordable and accessible for low-income families.”
About Feeding Kentucky
Feeding Kentucky is comprised of seven Feeding America food banks that reach all 120 counties of Kentucky and serve an estimated one in seven of all Kentuckians annually. Last year, its members distributed 72 million meals in partnership with more than 800 charitable feeding agencies such as pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community, visit FeedingKy.org.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.